Five Rotherham taxi drivers have had their licenses revoked in relation to investigations into child sexual exploitation, it has been revealed.
Commissioner Mary Ney said that of the seven licenses that have recently been revoked by the council, ‘five of these arose due to information from the police concerning investigations related to child sexual exploitation’.
A further 20 drivers have been refused license renewals since commissioners arrived at the authority in February.
It follows the role of taxi drivers in the grooming scandal being highlighted in the recent Alexis Jay and Louise Casey reports.
In a report made ahead to a public meeting last week, Commissioner Ney said just five of the 25 applications for taxi driver licence renewals have been accepted.
She said: “The key reasons for refusal have concerned not being a fit and proper person due to levels of and persistent criminality and dishonesty.”
Commissioner Ney said there are currently six appeals from taxi drivers against the decisions awaiting hearings at the Magistrates Court.
It comes ahead of a decision being made on introducing tougher taxi licensing standards in the town today, affecting the 1,200 people who hold licenses as taxi drivers in the town.
The measures, which are set to include all drivers having to install CCTV in their vehicles, are to be decided by Commissioner Ney.
Commissioner Ney said in a report ahead of the decision that she has already met with officials from the town’s Magistrates Court to brief them the new policy may result in them dealing with a greater number of appeals from drivers over revoked and non-renewed licenses.
She said: “The new policy strengthens the requirements in terms of criminality, clarifies that other information will be taken into account in judging fitness, requires the availability and proscribes the use of in-cab CCTV recording, raises the bar on accountability of taxi operators, improves requirements on safety of vehicles , and sets out requirements for training including training in safeguarding, working with vulnerable people and CSE.
“An implementation plan is being drawn up to take forward the new policy.
“This will include phased implementation where appropriate but will provide for application of the standards on ‘fit and proper’ to be undertaken immediately over a three-month period and to be applied to all existing licence holders.
“At the end of that period both the Council and the Trade will be able to say that all licence holders are at the new standard.
“I have also met with the Magistrates Court to brief them on the policy and alert them to the potential for an impact on their workload if the number of appeals rises.
“The implementation will be accompanied by a Communications Strategy in order to keep the public informed as part of rebuilding confidence.”